Tuesday, October 05, 2010


Okay, we completely fell off of our Chart Thursdays and Poetry Fridays, but this is the Outback Steakhouse of blogs, "no rules" (yeah, it's a very dated reference, but this blog has no rules against datedness), so I declare this to be Poetry Tuesday (and if you don't like it, you can proclaim this to be I-Don't-Like-This-Being-Poetry-Tuesday Tuesday, and that'll just have to be that). For today's poetic shenanigans, we venture into the realm of musical lyrics, which aren't quite the same thing as poetry, but they're close enough for our dubious purposes.

So Roger Miller* wrote a song called "Reincarnation". It goes like this:
If l was a bird and you was a fish,
What would we do? l guess we'd wish
Re-in-incarnation, re-in-incarnation
Wouldn't it be a sensation
To come back too like reincarnation?

If l was a tree and you was a flower,
What would we do? l guess we'd wait for the power
Re-in-incarnation, re-in-incarnation...
And then it keeps on with its silly, regularly-structured self, repeating some verses, throwing in a couple of bridges, etc. But silly, regularly-structured things tend to stick in my brain, and I sometimes find myself absent-mindedly making up new couplets for this song. Like (off the top of my head):
If I was a chicken and you was a duck
What would we do? I guess we'd wish for the luck
Re-in-incarnation, re-in-incarnation...

If I was an aardvark and you was an alligator
What would we do? I guess we'd wait 'til later
Re-in-incarnation, re-in-incarnation...

If I was an orangutan and you was a chimpanzee
What would we do? I guess we'd wait and see
Re-in-incarnation, re-in-incarnation...
As you can see, they start to get clunky and unwieldy, but that's sort of the fun of it: How ridiculous can they get while still nominally obeying the form?***

Your turn: What star-crossed pairings would cause you to wish for the power of re-in-incarnation, re-in-in...?

* Yeah, he seems to come up here a lot1, 2, 3, 4. Not sure what that's about.

** When I typed up the lyrics, I broke the lines kind of weird, but that's because the lines actually do break kind of weird. The verses are just rhyming couplets: "fish"/"wish, "flower"/"power"; the chorus starts in with the sing-songy "Re-in-incarnation..."; but there are those little grace words in between
"for", "of", etc.which don't fit in the verse, rhyme-wise, and don't fit in the chorus, beat-wise. So I just broke them out their own little line. (My own silly variations often cram in implausibly long phrases that have to be said really fast to keep time—e.g. "If-we're-graced-with..."—into this lyrical no-man's-land.)

** I like games where the objective is to do increasingly outlandish variations on some basic task. I have a goofy little game I play at home where, after feeding our dog, I throw the plastic cup I use as a scoop back across the kitchen into the dog food bin, basketball-style. But the intent isn't just to get it in: it's to get it in after some ridiculous, improbable sequence of deflections and bounces; like maybe it banks off the wall by the pantry, hits the cereal box on top of the refrigerator, lands on the counter, rolls off the edge, bounces a couple times on top of the cabinet door, and then plunks down into the kibbles and bits. (That would be awesome! I've never actually gotten anything so complex—more typically, it bounces off a bunch of stuff and then lands in the middle of the floor, startling the cats—but someday...)


  1. eldest sister of em sue8:14 PM

    breaking out the 'short' words
    brings back memories of wikipedia poetry. you might want to footnote that.
    on an unrelated note...keep practicing, someday the food scoop will surprise you!

  2. Anonymous1:15 PM

    About the plastic cup --

    Maybe you need to take up billiards.

    If you were a cue and I were a ball
    What would we desire most of all?


  3. If I were hungry and you were a snack,
    What would we do? I'd get you back
    By Re-Incarnation ....

    (Inspired by Kashi's "Tasty Snacks that Love You Back" campaign)

  4. If I was a cow and you was a sheep
    What would we do.We would take a leap for ree-incarnation